News 12 Sep 2016

Beaubier claims back-to-back MotoAmerica championships

Suzuki's Hayden and Elias share New Jersey finale race wins.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier sat on the outside of New Jersey Motorsports Park’s turn four for eight agonising laps in the second of two Superbike races at New Jersey Motorsports Park, hoping the hard work put in over the previous 17 races would be enough to earn him his second successive MotoAmerica Superbike crown.

When Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias barely bested his teammate Roger Hayden by 0.104s of a second on Sunday afternoon and Beaubier’s teammate Josh Hayes crossed the line in third, he could finally lift his head. Next, a relieved Beaubier was lifting the championship plate above his head.

And that was how the 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Series concluded. Beaubier had finished fourth in race one to extend his lead to 22 points going into race two. When his bike coasted to a stop on the 17th lap, all Beaubier could do was watch.

With Elias besting Hayden and Hayes, Beaubier was champion by just six points over Hayes and seven points over Elias after nine rounds and 18 races. Until things settle down on Sunday night, a shell-shocked Beaubier will be more relieved than happy. The 23-year-old Californian won eight races on the season and finished on the podium a total of 13 times.

“I honestly didn’t know exactly how many laps were left because I didn’t have any live feed or any live timing out there or anything,” Beaubier said. “I was just kind of sitting there. Honestly, I was so nervous I didn’t even want to watch the race because I was like, ‘I can’t believe that just happened to me’.

“I know how strong Josh has been all weekend, along with Roger and Toni. Man, I don’t ever want to root against my teammate, but when I saw Toni and Roger ahead of Josh, I wasn’t bummed. I will say that. I was pretty speechless up there on the podium. I didn’t really know what to say just because there were just so many emotions going through my mind.

“I was so pissed off right when it happened, then got upset and then kind of just a big thing of joy. It was just a big emotion swing. No matter what happened with the bike, I think that was just an unlucky thing. I know how good those guys are and how hard they work. I think the bottom line was it was just pretty dramatic – I had so much fun racing all these guys this year.”

Race one was also a thriller with Hayden topping Hayes by just 0.104s of a second for his second win of the season. Elias was a charging third after a poor start left him lagging. A careful Beaubier was fourth, setting himself up for what should have been a relatively relaxing race two. But that wasn’t to be as his bike had a rare mechanical failure.

Despite his best effort in the final corner of race two, Hayden lost out to his teammate Elias at the line. It was Elias’ sixth win in his rookie MotoAmerica season and the Spaniard vowed to be back for more in 2017.

The top Bazzaz Superstock 1000 in both races was Quicksilver/Latus Motors Racing’s Bobby Fong, the Californian winning both and finishing fifth and fourth overall in the two Superbike races in the process. Australia’s Dave Anthony (Latus Motors Racing Kawasaki) registered DNFs in both races.

The first champion crowned on Sunday was Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff, the 21-year-old Texan taking the 2016 Supersport title by just four points over his teammate JD Beach after 16 races. Beach did all he could at NJMP, winning his eighth race of the season and his seventh in a row, but it wasn’t enough.

Both riders had incredible seasons, but Gerloff, with 15 podiums and six race wins, was four points better to fulfill a near life-long dream of winning a professional road racing championship in what was his fifth season as a pro.